Wendish in Japan

Wendish in Japan

You may wonder how I came to search for traces of Wendish as far afield as Japan. It happened quite accidentally. I became curious about whether there was a linguistic connection between ancient Japanese and Wendish in the mid-1980s, when reading a biography of an American who had grown up in Japan. He mentions that a very ancient Japanese sword is called meich in Japanese. Surprisingly, meich or mech has the same meaning also in Wendish. How did Wends reach Japan, and when? I decided to find out first if this particular word, meich, really exists in Japanese. And, if it does, at which point in time in the past Wendish speakers could have had contact with Japanese islands.

I describe in more detail, mentioning my tentative conclusions with regard to the origins of Wendish in Japanese, and its relation to the Ainu language, in the 5th installment of my article,The Extraordinary History of a Unique People, published in the Glasilo magazine, Toronto, Canada. Anyone interested will find all the already published installments of this article, including the 5th installment, on my still not quite organized website, www.GlobalWends.com. In the next, winter issue of Glasilo, i.e., in the 6th installment of my article, I will report my discoveries and conclusions with regard to the origins of Wendish in the Ainu language, the language of the aboriginal white population of Japan.

I started my search for the word meich by buying Kenkyusha’s New School Japanese-English Dictionary. Unfortunately, I had acquired a dictionary meant for ordinary students and meich is not mentioned in it. Obviously, I should have bought a dictionary of Old Japanese instead, in which ancient terms are mentioned. Nevertheless, to my amazement, I found in Kenkyusha’s concise dictionary, instead of meich, many other Wendish words and cognates, which I am quoting below in my List.

I found it intriguing that the present form of words in Japanese, with clearly Wendish roots, show that Chinese and Korean immigrants to the islands were trying to learn Wendish, not vice versa. This indicates that the original population of Japan was Caucasian and that the influx of the Asian population was, at least at first, gradual. Today, after over 3000 years of Chinese and Korean immigrations, about half of the Japanese vocabulary is based on Chinese.

There is another puzzle to be solved. Logically, one would expect the language of the white aboriginies of Japan, the Ainu – also deeply influenced by Wendish – to have been the origin of Wendish in modern Japanese. Yet, considering the set up of the Wendish vocabulary occurring in Japanese, Ainu does not seem to have played any part in the formation of modern Japanese, or only a negligible one. Wendish vocabulary in Japanese points to a different source. It seems to have been the result of a second, perhaps even a third Wendish migration wave into the Islands, at a much later date. Ainu seem to have arrived already in the Ice Age, when present Japan was still a part of the Asian continent. They have remained hunters and gatherers until their final demise in the mid-20th century. They retained their Ice Age religion, which regarded everything in the universe and on earth as a spiritual entity, to be respected and venerated – including rocks and stars. Wendish words in Japanese, however, mirror an evolved megalithic agricultural culture and a sun-venerating religion.

A list of all Wendish cognates I have discovered in the Kenkyusha’s dictionary is on my website, under the heading of a List of Wendish in Japanese. It is by no means a complete list. My Japanese is very limited, based solely on Kenkyusha’s dictionary and some introductory lessons to the Japanese culture, history, language, literature and legends, by a Japanese friend of mine, with an authentic Wendish name Hiroko, pronounced in the Tokyo dialect, as in Wendish, shirokowide, all-encompassing. Besides, although I have a university level knowledge of Wendish, I do not possess the extensive Wendish vocabulary necessary to discover most of Wendish words which may have changed somewhat their meaning with thousands of passing years, complicated by the arrival of a new population whose language had nothing in common with Wendish.

Future, more thorough and patient researchers – whose mother-tongue is Wendish but who also have a thorough knowledge of Japanese – will, no doubt, find a vastly larger number of Wendish cognates in Japanese than I did.

(For more information visit: https://www.globalwends.com/introduction.html)

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